Research Projects

The Partnership is committed to the support and encouragement of academic research and knowledge transfer as it relates to the comprehensive history of the houses and their owners and includes buildings, estates, parks and gardens, collections, and archives as well as the families themselves and their local communities. This research is designed to enhance scholarly and public understanding of the field.

The Partnership has successfully completed a number of individual and collective research projects with public outcomes, and has established a reputation as an example of good practice in interdisciplinary collaborative working within the higher education and heritage sectors both regionally and nationally. It also works closely with other national bodies within the UK and Ireland, and is beginning to establish links within Europe and North America.

The Libraries Project

2006 saw the completion of a four-year project, funded by the MLA, through MLA (Yorkshire), and run through the University of York library. This was a project to catalogue the printed book holdings in six of the Partnership houses, making these available on the University of York library online catalogue. There are in excess of 20,000 titles in this database.

For the YCHP libraries report go to:

For the catalogue go to:

For information on the National Trust cataloguing project go to:

Collaborative Doctoral Awards

To date the Partnership has secured six Art & Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Awards, these include:

David Gent, Dynastic Whig Politics in Yorkshire, c.1830-1860: Lord Morpeth and His World, University of York, Dept of History and Castle Howard. Joint supervisors Miles Taylor and Christopher Ridgway. Degree awarded 2010.

Timur TatliogluB, Biography and Place in the Harewood Estate Landscape, University of York and the Harewood House Trust.  Supervisor Jonathan Finch. Degree awarded 2010.

Hannah DeGroff, The Mental World of the Country House: The Textual Networks of the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, University of York, Dept of English and Castle Howard. Joint supervisors Bill Sherman and Christopher Ridgway. Thesis commenced 2009.

Emily Rayner, Transforming the Landscape: Gawthorpe, Harewood and the creation of the modern landscape, 1500-1750, University of York and the Harewood House Trust. Supervisor Jonathan Finch. Thesis commenced 2010.

Christopher Bovis, Lotherton before the Gascoignes: The Gascoignes before Lotherton, University of York, Centre for Medieval Studies, and Lotherton Hall. Joint supervisors Mark Ormrod, Jonathan Finch and Adam White. Thesis commenced January 2013.

Colonialism and Horticulture: Walled gardens in Yorkshire during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century, University of York and Burton Constable Foundation. Joint supervisors Jonathan Finch and David Connell.

In addition to these there have been a number of PhD theses at York focused on aspects of the houses in the Partnership.

These have included:

Ruth M. Larsen, Dynastic Domesticity: The Role of Elite Women in the Yorkshire Country House, 1685-1858, University of York, Department of History, degree awarded 2003.

Jane Troughton, The Role of Music in Yorkshire Country Houses 1770-1850, University of York, Department of Music. Supervisors Jonathan Wainwright and Allen Warren, commenced 2007.

Scoping Exercises

Periodically, as and when resources can be found, the Partnership will commission special pieces of preliminary research, aimed at mapping out particular fields of study.

In 2009 two graduate students, David Gent from the University of York, and Des Konopka from the National University of Ireland Maynooth undertook a scoping exercise entitled ‘Yorkshire-Irish Connections, 1660-1930’. The authors surveyed the primary sources relating to Yorkshire families with connections to Ireland, covering the principal repositories in England and Ireland. The 56-page document is available as a Word document.

As a result of this work one PhD was begun through the Dept of History at the University of York, researching the Earls Fitzwilliam at Coollatin, Co Wicklow, the Earls of Rosse at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, and the Gascoigne family at Castle Oliver, Co. Limerick. A second PhD has been started in the History Dept at NUI Maynooth.

Yorkshire-Ireland Scoping Exercise